Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Chainmail Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Vegard Stomsvik Pedersen




Location: Norway
Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject: Chainmail         Reply with quote

Some days ago i had a discussion with my neightbor about vikings. And then we came into the topic chainmail. He means that the chainmail the vikings used was to heavy and nonflexible to walk in...
So, my question is; how heavy was (is) chainmail? And how flexible is it?
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 4:03 am    Post subject: Re: Chainmail         Reply with quote

Vegard Stomsvik Pedersen wrote:
Some days ago i had a discussion with my neightbor about vikings. And then we came into the topic chainmail. He means that the chainmail the vikings used was to heavy and nonflexible to walk in...
So, my question is; how heavy was (is) chainmail? And how flexible is it?

Short answer: not all that heavy and very flexible.
Long answer: weight depends on how big the maille shirt was. A knee-length full sleeve hauberk weighs more than a thigh-length half sleeve haubergeon. Maille chausses (leggings) would add more weight as would a coif. The average historical haubergeon weighs around twenty pounds give or take five pounds. Maille in Europe was normally either all riveted (later period) or alternating riveted/solid row construction (earlier period). As for flexibility, well you might not be able to do contortionist movements in a maille shirt, but the maille was mighty flexible. Common sense tells us that fighting men would not wear armor that would cause them to A) move slowly (thus becoming a target) and/or B) not allow them to move (and therefore fight).
There are many others here with a better knowledge of maille. Hopefully they'll chime in.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
View user's profile Send private message
Bram Verbeek





Joined: 27 Mar 2007

Posts: 217

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it was as heavy and inflexible as he said, it would have been utterly useless. Chainmail is actually highly flexible, it consists of thousands of rings that all hinge in four directions (or 6). The problem can be however, that the weight of the armour slows your movement, it can only be helped by regular exercise in the armour. It is quite heavy, but any type of metal protection that can cover your whole body is, and chain mail is no exeption. the weight is quite evenly divided over your body though, but tends to get a little heavy around the shoulders when worn for a long time
View user's profile Send private message
Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The looseness of chainmail is as big a probem as the weight. The stuff flapping around our limbs kind of saps your power. If you set a bunch of chaps running in just maille against some with maille and belts, the difference is obvious. I know of re-enactors who run leather thong around their arms to cut this down, but I don't know if there is any evidence for this. A custom made shirt would sort this out, but there is loads of evidence of armour being passed on.
Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,158

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think people here have had much experience with historical examples of mail. Historical mail is much lighter than the butted mail that more reenactors wear today. Historical mail was often heavily tailored to fit a particuilar individual. As such it does not flap around or hinder your movement anywhere near as much as the "tubes with sleeves" that people wear today.
View user's profile Send private message
Robin Smith




Location: Louisiana
Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 746

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I fight in maille every week. I find it neither too heavy to move around it, nor too inflexible to fight in. Granted its taken abit to get used to, but I am finally reaching the point where it doesn't weigh me down too much.
My riveted hauberk weighs about 21lbs. I also wear a good belt at the waist to take some of the weight off my shoulders.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Aaron Schneiker




Location: Davis Junction, IL
Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I don't think people here have had much experience with historical examples of mail. Historical mail is much lighter than the butted mail that more reenactors wear today. Historical mail was often heavily tailored to fit a particuilar individual. As such it does not flap around or hinder your movement anywhere near as much as the "tubes with sleeves" that people wear today.


I think that would really depend on the time period, wouldn't it? I am doing some research into making something that could pass for a 13th C armor, and I was told by Mr. Schmid that one good period example would be made from 1.6mm wire with a 7-8mm ID. That puts it at almost 14ga wire with an ID under 5/16". That would be heavier than the normal 14ga, 3/8" butted stuff.

On the other hand, I have seen a few 15th and 16th C shirts that could not have weighed more than 15-20 pounds. The rings were quite small, but the majority of the shirt could not have been much thicker than 19-20ga wire. I think it all depends on the place and time period you are talking about.
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schneiker wrote:
I think that would really depend on the time period, wouldn't it? I am doing some research into making something that could pass for a 13th C armor, and I was told by Mr. Schmid that one good period example would be made from 1.6mm wire with a 7-8mm ID. That puts it at almost 14ga wire with an ID under 5/16". That would be heavier than the normal 14ga, 3/8" butted stuff.

Actually
1.6 mm = 0.0625 in = 16 awg = 18 swg
2.0 mm = 0.080 in = 14 awg = 16 swg

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
View user's profile Send private message
Aaron Schneiker




Location: Davis Junction, IL
Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
Aaron Schneiker wrote:
I think that would really depend on the time period, wouldn't it? I am doing some research into making something that could pass for a 13th C armor, and I was told by Mr. Schmid that one good period example would be made from 1.6mm wire with a 7-8mm ID. That puts it at almost 14ga wire with an ID under 5/16". That would be heavier than the normal 14ga, 3/8" butted stuff.

Actually
1.6 mm = 0.0625 in = 16 awg = 18 swg
2.0 mm = 0.080 in = 14 awg = 16 swg


I believe you are looking in the wrong column of your chart.
14awg=.0640"
15awg=.0570"
16awg=.0508"

Therefore 1.6mm=.06299" is closer to 14awg than anything else. You might have been looking at the Washburn & Moen scale or the S.W.G. where 14 gauge=.0800".
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Loder




Location: Milwaukee, WI
Joined: 10 Mar 2006

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If maille was that inflexible and heavy nobody would wear it that wanted to live very long Happy. Like said further above true riveted maille is suprisingly light. I am working on tailoring three (or four I can't remember) shirts right now and not one of them weighs more than 8 kilos (17.6 pounds). And since it is evenly (for the most part) distributed around your body you don't really notice it all that much.

Maille is super flexible within limits, which is why body armor is built with some stretching room in it. Nothing better than putting on a shirt and finding out that you exceed the maximum stretch for a garment! I can move just as well in my maille as I can in a long sleeved t-shirt.

A little talked about property of maille is how it can keep you cool. This benefit isn't so great in the winter though Happy. All that surface area cools down very fast. Also, you are wearing a shirt full of holes so it doesn't really trap heat at all.

I'm just glad that there was a question that I could finally respond to Happy. Sword typology and distal taper I'm still learning, maille I know Happy.

My $0.02

~ Joe

He who laughs last, thinks fastest.
-------------------------------------------------------------
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jeff Pringle
Industry Professional



Location: Oakland, CA
Joined: 19 Nov 2005

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a look at Viking and later mail -
Ring weave
A metallographical analysis of ring mail material at the Oldsaksamlingen in Oslo
By Vegard Vike
www.vikingsna.org/translations/ringweave.pdf
View user's profile Send private message
Aaron Schneiker




Location: Davis Junction, IL
Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Loder wrote:
Like said further above true riveted maille is suprisingly light.


The mail I was referring to IS true riveted mail. The information came from an answer to one of my questions by Erik D. Schmid who, as far as I can tell, has more factual information about mail and hands on experience than at least most out there.

Here is what he said when I asked about 13th C mail construction:

"It seems the majority of links used during this time were a uniform size and shape. Many had a section around 1.6mm and an ID of around 7 - 8mm. However, there were also those that were less than 1mm thick with an ID of around 4mm. Again it boils down to what area you are talking about."

So this is information from multiple examples of historical mail from the 13th C. With uniform rings of this thickness and size a shirt with integral coif and full sleeves may well exceed 50 pounds. So my point is that while there are plenty of examples showing that historical mail could be extremely light, there are also historical examples showing that it could be quite heavy as well.
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schneiker wrote:


I believe you are looking in the wrong column of your chart.
14awg=.0640"
15awg=.0570"
16awg=.0508"

Therefore 1.6mm=.06299" is closer to 14awg than anything else. You might have been looking at the Washburn & Moen scale or the S.W.G. where 14 gauge=.0800".

You're right. I was looking at the wrong column and transposed them. Sorry about that.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Loder




Location: Milwaukee, WI
Joined: 10 Mar 2006

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron,

I did not mean to imply that you were not referring to true riveted maille in your posts. Honestly I had not even read your posts at that point, so I apologize for the confusion generated in my post. I should probably not have used true riveted maille as a descriptor, I was just attempting to make a distinction between butted maille and riveted maille. Again, my fault for the misleading descriptor.

I do question your assertion of a shirt with integral coif well exceeding 50 pounds though. First some information from documented historical examples in the Wallace Collection:

Quote:
Those comprising the bulk of the main body are of a slightly thicker (0.052”, 1.31mm) material, while the links of the last eleven inches of the body and the lower portion of each sleeve are marginally lighter (0.031”, 0.78mm). Wallace Collection A2 shirt

The links of the body (Figure 10) are of very high quality, having a round or slightly oval cross-section with only a small amount of flattening occurring at the lapped joint. The creation of links using wire of this thickness (0.027”, 0.68mm) and diameter (0.187”, 4.74mm OD.) must have required a great deal of skill. Wallace Collection A7 shirt

Under each armpit there is a section of mail constructed of a much heavier wire (0.040”, 1.01mm) than the wire used for the links of the sleeves and body (0.027”, 0.68mm). Wallace Collection A7 shirt.

The collar is composed of very fine links woven so tightly that they are completely fixed and unable to rotate (Figure 23). This situation is similar to the collar and underarm links of A7. Link thickness is the one aspect that differentiates them (0.040”, 1.01mm for A7 and 0.035”, 0.88mm for A9).

Schmid, Erik. "Link Details from Articles of Mail in the Wallace Collection." The Journal of 1(2003): 2-20."


Here we have two shirts with wire thicknesses varying from 1.31mm (0.052") down to 0.68mm (0.027"), lets average the data and call it 0.945mm. The A9 collar has rings with a thickness of 0.88mm.

Compare these rings to a modern recreation from Steve Forth of Forth Armoury. These stats are for a full hauberk approximately 36" [91cm] from shoulder to the hem. The sleeves are tapered, narrowing towards the wrist and are approximately 23" [58cm] long:

Quote:
Weight: Approximately 27 Lbs [12.2 Kg]
Ring Dimensions: I.D. ~3/8" [9.5mm]. ~1/32" [.8mm] thick
Forth, Steve. "Haugergeons." 4 Apr 2007 <http://forth-armoury.com/Product_Catalog/hauberks/hauberks.htm>.

Weight: Approximately 3.5 Lbs [1.6 Kg]
Ring Dimensions: I.D. ~3/8" [9.5mm]. ~1/32" [.8mm] thick
Material: Unplated low carbon steel
Forth, Steve. "Coifs." 4 Apr 2007 <http://forth-armoury.com/Product_Catalog/coifs/coif.htm>.


The shirt and coif from Steve would weigh in at 30.5 pounds. I would doubt that a wire thickness difference of 0.065mm would make a huge difference in weight. Unfortunately I do not have access to the weight information for any of the above referenced pieces in the Wallace Collection so I can not make a direct comparison.

I've worn a 45-ish pound butted maille shirt and I could move but not very well. I tired very fast in 15 minutes of simulated combat (performing Fiore's set plays 1-8) because I weighed much more than normal. Now I am not a trained warrior but I am in good physical shape so I don't think it's unreasonable to base my response on my personal experience because the average soldier is not a Navy SEAL. Put this in perspective with the length of some medieval battles and you can see that wearing anything that can tire you out in 15 minutes of activity might not be the best idea. Basically, if you can't move aggressively for a long period of time you were dead.

My respectful $0.02
Joe

He who laughs last, thinks fastest.
-------------------------------------------------------------
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My entire 13th cnt. armour, including chauces, hauberk, coif, arming coat, and kettlehatt weighs about 20 kg.
I can wear it for the better part of a day's worth of fighting without any problem.

It does slow you down ever so slightly. However, the added protection is definitely worth it.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Hugo Voisine





Joined: 25 Feb 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 336

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
My entire 13th cnt. armour, including chauces, hauberk, coif, arming coat, and kettlehatt weighs about 20 kg.
I can wear it for the better part of a day's worth of fighting without any problem.

It does slow you down ever so slightly. However, the added protection is definitely worth it.


I agree.

Quote:
I've worn a 45-ish pound butted maille shirt and I could move but not very well. I tired very fast in 15 minutes of simulated combat (performing Fiore's set plays 1-8) because I weighed much more than normal. Now I am not a trained warrior but I am in good physical shape so I don't think it's unreasonable to base my response on my personal experience because the average soldier is not a Navy SEAL. Put this in perspective with the length of some medieval battles and you can see that wearing anything that can tire you out in 15 minutes of activity might not be the best idea. Basically, if you can't move aggressively for a long period of time you were dead.


Even if you're in very good shape in my opinion you really get to fight in mail for a couple of times, for a few hours a time, to really get accustomed to it. After that you come to a point where it doesn't bother you any more... and in fact you feel naked when fighting without it. Laughing Out Loud

« Que dites-vous ?... C'est inutile ?... Je le sais !
Mais on ne se bat pas dans l'espoir du succès !
Oh ! non, c'est bien plus beau lorsque c'est inutile ! »
View user's profile Send private message
Trent Brodrick




Location: Blue Mountians NSW Australia
Joined: 04 Apr 2007

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In response to maille flapping around and sapping the power of a blow maille was made for one person hence it's tallored to them a shirt being inherrited can easly have rings added or removed to fit the wearer so there would be minimal excess of sleeve imparing the wearer also there is pictorial evidence of what has been dubbed the varangian bra which is fabric tied around under the armpits and the over one shoulder to take weight off the shoulders and arms (i have tried this and after a full day fighting the difference is extream)
also having worn a suit of maile 75 pounds and fighting in it the weight is not all that noticable with both the varangian bra and a belt
View user's profile Send private message
Robin Smith




Location: Louisiana
Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 746

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Loder wrote:
The shirt and coif from Steve would weigh in at 30.5 pounds. I would doubt that a wire thickness difference of 0.065mm would make a huge difference in weight. Unfortunately I do not have access to the weight information for any of the above referenced pieces in the Wallace Collection so I can not make a direct comparison.

I've worn a 45-ish pound butted maille shirt and I could move but not very well. I tired very fast in 15 minutes of simulated combat (performing Fiore's set plays 1-8) because I weighed much more than normal. Now I am not a trained warrior but I am in good physical shape so I don't think it's unreasonable to base my response on my personal experience because the average soldier is not a Navy SEAL. Put this in perspective with the length of some medieval battles and you can see that wearing anything that can tire you out in 15 minutes of activity might not be the best idea. Basically, if you can't move aggressively for a long period of time you were dead.

My respectful $0.02
Joe
I'll disagree with your assertation that you can compare our modern physique to that of a medieval warrior. wether you are in good shape or not, wearing maille forces you to use muscles in ways that your body has to get used to. I fight in my riveted hauberk every week. Its taken me a few months of conditioning, but I am finally getting there. A friend, who has been doing this for more than 20 years is lightning fast, and I doubt even he is comparable to medieval warriors who did this for a living...
Honestly I think my kite shield and helmet are more tiring then the maille. But then again, my combat helm has all the required SCA safety concessions, and is hardly comparable to a historical. My LH helm and coif are much lighter than my combat helm...

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Aaron Schneiker




Location: Davis Junction, IL
Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Joe.

No apologies necessary. I just wanted to clarify where my information was coming from.

As for my weight estimate, I might be off a little as it was just a rough estimate. However, if you look at the link in Jeff Pringle's post it might not be that far off. The shirt labelled as C455 in that post has rings that are about 1.5mm thick on average with an OD of 11-12mm. That would put the ID around 9.5-10.5mm, and it says these individual rings weighed around .30g on average. It also estimates that shirt (short sleeve and a little past waist length) at around 27,000 rings. If you use these rings as a guide and add full sleeves, a coif, and drop the length down to the knee you would end up more around 60,000 rings, which would put you over 40 pounds using those rings. Still not over 50 pounds I guess, but still heavy enough.

The A2, A7, and the stuff that forth makes are examples and recreations of 15th-16th Century stuff. I can't say that I've actually seen any examples from the 13th Century or before and studied it, but estimating from these documented examples I don't think the 45-50 pound range is too far off for a knee length, full sleeve shirt with integral coif made from 1.6mm thick wire rings with a 7-8mm ID. Again, only an estimate tho. I may be wrong.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,158

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schneiker wrote:
The shirt labelled as C455 in that post has rings that are about 1.5mm thick on average with an OD of 11-12mm. That would put the ID around 9.5-10.5mm, and it says these individual rings weighed around .30g on average.

Only if the cross-section is circular. Were these links only flattened at the lapped area or on the entire link?
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Chainmail
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum